Friday, March 21, 2014
Why are my Purple Eggplants producing Yellow fruit?
Pansy, sorry I'm not sure what the colour is called I just think it is a great pic. Click on the image to see a slide show of this week's Delightful availability list.
Can you tell me why the eggplants are yellow and not purple? I heard on the radio that they are no good and to pull them out as there was a problem with the seeds. Thanks
I wondered which radio program this had been mentioned on, then I met Vasili who told me he had this little grenade land in his lap when he was doing his regular 3AW spot.
There are many ways that we can end up with the wrong plant paired with the wrong label. Jeannie has to concentrate when she is sowing seed to make sure the correct seed is used for each tray and the correct label is applied. Michele has to provide the pricking team with the correct labels and the pricking team have to apply them to the correct punnets. Of course when we handle plants this many times, systems to prevent mis-labelling are essential, but they are not completely fool proof.
A small number of customers have raised concerns with yellow Eggplant this season, and I have heard that plants from a number of different growers purchased at various garden centres have produced fruit that is definitely not purple. So in this instance we breath a sigh of relief... phew it 'ain't my fault! We don't grow a yellow Eggplant to mis-label and it sound like the problem is more wide spread than just our nursery. We believe that a batch of seed from one of our suppliers is a dud and keep in mind the seed producer has as many and more opportunities to mix up labelling of their product. They rarely make mistakes but as we can't tell until 6 months after the seed was purchased and after we have finished producing the plant for it's appropriate season it is always very frustrating.
None of this helps the gardener who has gone to the effort of purchasing and growing eggplant that they expected to be Purple only to find it is the wrong colour. I don't know if the fruit is edible. I haven't actually seen one but we'll assume Vasili's advice over the radio, to pull them out is the most appropriate. I do know that the lavender striped fruit "Fairytail" hybrid that we grew in pots eventually ripened to a not especially appetising yellow colour. It is a ripe fruit so it might be OK to eat but it might also be bitter. The chance of it being poisonous are, I think pretty low. Anyway, if you have been disappointed by your Eggplants this season please let me know, we will happily supply replacement plants appropriate to the season or fresh Eggplant in Spring. If I can get some photos or fruit specimens I will follow up with the seed supplier and we'll make sure it doesn't happen again next year.